Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)

 
 
Some Remarks on the Habits of
the Hesperidæ (S9: 1853)

 
Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: Printed in the Zoologist issue of May 1853. Original pagination indicated within double brackets. To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S009.htm


    [[p. 3884]] Most writers on Entomology state that the majority of the Hesperidæ rest with the fore-wings vertical, while the hind ones are horizontal. This is certainly the case with many of the species with which we are best acquainted; but in the great majority of exotic species the wings are carried either vertically, as in most other diurnal butterflies, or expanded horizontally, as in many Geometræ, and occasionally some Nymphalidæ. I do not remember having seen any of the Hesperias carry their wings deflexed, as the Castnias and Noctuidæ generally do. During my residence in Brazil, I noted accurately these various modes of repose in all the species I captured, but most of the ticketed specimens and my notes referring to them are unfortunately lost. I am inclined to think, however, that this character will serve to divide the family into two, or perhaps three, natural groups. On looking over my own collection, I find about 150 species which sit with their wings erect; about 50 with expanded wings; and but very few, which I cannot now determine with certainty, which carry the fore-wings only erect. On referring to Messrs. Doubleday and Westwood's work on the genera of butterflies, I find that the species of the first division, such as Antoninus, Rhetus, Exodeus, Amyclas, Gnetus, fulgurator, Celeus and Proteus, belong to the genera Pyrrophyga, Ericides, Goniurus and Goniloba, and some species of Pamphila, as P. Epictetus. Of the second division, such as Thyreus, Oreus, Herenius, obscurus, &c., to the genera Pyrgus, Nisoniades and Achylodes. Those of the third division appear to belong to the genus Pamphila, but certainly do not include all the species. Some of the long-tailed species, such as Goniurus Proteus &c., sometimes expand their wings in the morning sun, as do some of the Epicalias, Ericinas, and several others; but their true habit is to rest with their wings erect. I once bred a species of this family, which offered some peculiarities. The larva was long, cylindrical, smooth, pubescent, and green; it fed on the plantain. The pupa was suspended horizontally beneath a leaf of the same plant, and braced; it was pale green, and the head pointed; but the greatest peculiarity consisted in the spiral tongue being contained in a free external sheath, forming [[p. 3885]] a straight bristle longer than the whole body of the pupa. The perfect insect was one of those with vitreous spots, closely allied to Goniloba Antoninus.

-- Alfred R. Wallace; March, 1853.


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